The following is a true story as told to C. Small Dog by one of the detectives. Some [tiny, practically unnoticeable] liberties taken.
It was a dark and stormy night* when this dame called up. She’d seen something horrible and thought she was being followed so she couldn’t squeal. I wasn’t in the mood to do the damsel in distress routine, I’d been drinking since noon and musing on the wretchedness of the human state for nearly as long, but she sounded desperate.
As it turned out, she did need me. She’s witnessed a kidnapping and had every reason to suspect the worst. One of ducks that lived at the campus pond had been snatched before her eyes, shoved squawking into a bag by gorilla armed goons and driven off in an unmarked car**. I suspected that the fowl had run afoul of the bootleggers and crooks who run this town – whiskey is normally involved. And if it isn’t, I involve it. I carry a couple flasks just for cases like this. You can’t see what I’ve seen and do this job sober.
A couple of contacts of mine down at the botanical studies buildings tipped me off about the car and I knew enough to trace it to a run down part of town infested with the scum of humanity and broken dreams***. I’d been there more times than I cared to count, but I had a job to do. I had to break a few ribs, but eventually I found the guys that had been hired for the job. A couple of drinks, some moody dialog and veiled threats and they squealed. They told me that this guy they called The Mallard**** came up with the plan to get back at this other guy, The Loon, by using the duck to stir up trouble. They dumped the duck at The Loon’s joint, leaving it to wreck the place and its crap all over the floor (an apt metaphor for life) before returning it, a broken bird, to its pond to live out what remained of its days.
I found this Mallard and let him know how many federal laws he’d violated, ducks were protected in this town and he knew it. Turns out he’d had his way with ducks like this before, but I wasn’t going to turning a blind eye to it. His laugh ended when I plugged a bullet in his brain***** and walked out, leaving the assorted persons and waterfowl to contemplate my anti-hero behavior and debate the wisdom of cheering a guy like me on.
I left them there, stuck in moral ambiguity, and went to the bar and let some of the boys from the precinct know I’d been doing their job for them again. They reacted with the usual disdain of the establishment when shown up by an outsider.
“Good job, Duck Tracy.”
“You quacked the case.”
“Any evidence of fowl play?”******
I didn’t care. I’d done my job. I knocked back the whiskey and headed back out streets where I belonged.
*About 3 in the afternoon
** Partial license plate
****The idiot whose idea this was
*****No one was harmed in the making of this noir
******Actual puns unleashed by our witty, witty staff